Tag

Augusta National.

Browsing

Woods played his first 72-hole event since November 2020; Former world No 1 confirmed to Sky Sports he plans to play The Open in July, but what else did we learn from his performance at Augusta National?

Tiger woods

Tiger Woods delighted the golfing world with his impressive comeback at The Masters, a performance that will remain one of the more memorable in the 15-time major champion’s long and successful career.

Woods dominated the narrative at Augusta National, more than 500 days on from his last competitive start in the 2020 contest and less than 14 months on from the career-threatening car crash that nearly cost him his right leg.

The 46-year-old battled through the pain barrier to make it through to the weekend and register a 47th-place finish, with Woods proud of how he handled himself in his highly-anticipated return to action.

“It’s one thing to play with my son at a hit-and-giggle, but it’s another thing to play in a major championship,” Woods said after his final round. “It’s been a tough road, and one that I’m very thankful to have the opportunity to be able to grind through it. A lot of different things could have happened, but 14 months, I’m able to tee it up and play in The Masters.”

When asked whether his comeback ranked as one of his biggest career achievements, Woods added: “For not winning an event, without a doubt. To go from where I was to get to this point, I’ve had an incredible team that has helped me get to this point and incredible support.”

Tiger woods

How Woods performed at Augusta

Woods rolled back the years with a one-under 71 on the opening day, keeping him within four strokes of early leader Sungjae Im, before battling back from bogeying four of his first five holes on Friday to salvage a second-round 74 and make his 22nd consecutive cut at The Masters.

“To come out of the gates and straightaway be competitive against the world’s best who have been playing every week [is great],” Sir Nick Faldo told Sky Sports. “He is the rarest of the rarest.

“People do not appreciate what he has had to do physically to get back to this. It is darn impressive. He did not leave a bed for three months due to healing and then wanted to play golf for fun.”

Tiger woods

Woods then carded back-to-back rounds of 78 over the weekend, the two highest scores of his lengthy Augusta National career, although still received a standing ovation from the patrons as he closed out his final hole and headed for the clubhouse.

“It wasn’t vintage Tiger but the base level is perhaps higher than we thought,” former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley told Golf Channel. “In terms of competitive golf, he was somewhat sloppy – a sharper Tiger in his prime would have been tighter in scoring.

“Having said that, it’s a great place to move forward from into the summer, to get more competitive golf under his belt and to throw his weight around with these young kids on the block. It’s great to have Tiger Woods back as part of the narrative.”

Where could Tiger play next?

Tiger woods

Woods has traditionally sat out of the events immediately after The Masters, although is a past winner of the first two PGA Tour events in May – the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson.

The next potential return to action would be the PGA Championship from May 19-22 at Southern Hills Country Club, the venue where he successfully defended the Wanamaker Trophy in 2007 to claim the most recent of his four victories in the event.

When asked whether he would feature next month, Woods told Sky Sports: “I won’t be playing a full schedule ever again, so it will just be the big events. I don’t know if I will play Southern Hills or not.”

The former world No 1 could seek permission from the PGA of America to use a golf cart at the event, just as John Daly did during the 2019 contest at Bethpage Black and Woods did at December’s PNC Championship, although he has previously stated he would be unwilling to compete using a cart in a full-field tournament.

Woods has regularly appeared at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memoria Tournament, an event he has won five times, while June could see him try to add his major tally at The US Open in Brookline.

Could Tiger contend at The Open?

One tournament where Woods will feature is The 150th Open at the historic St Andrews in mid-July, exclusively live on Sky Sports, where he completed the career Grand Slam with his record-breaking win in 2000 and also won the Claret Jug in 2005.

Woods confirmed he will feature at the final men’s major of the year, telling Sky Sports: “I’m looking forward to [The Open Championship] at St Andrews.

“That is something that’s near and dear to my heart, I’ve won two Opens there, it’s the Home of Golf and it’s my favourite golf course in the world. I will be there for that one.”

The Scottish course is shorter and offers flatter terrain than what Woods has had to tackle at Augusta National, with Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee expecting the three-time Champion Golfer of the Year to be a threat at St Andrews.

“Tiger’s ball speed on the range [on Friday] was 179mph – he went from below-average ball speed to elite ball speed, Chamblee told Golf Channel. “Eighty-three victories is in play for him now, another major championship is in play.

“I didn’t think before this week started that I would give him a big chance at The Open Championship at St Andrews as under normal crisp conditions that place is about speed. It’s why he won there in 2000 and 2005. At 179mph ball speed, St Andrews is now in play.”

A benefit of Woods’ legendary status is that it enables him to play whenever he feels his game and body are up to it, with the 82-time PGA Tour winner able to pick his schedule however he likes it. Whether we don’t see Woods tee it up again until July, or we get to see him in action sooner, the sporting world will watch on with interest once more.

When will Woods next tee it up? Watch all four majors and the PGA Tour exclusively live this year on Sky Sports Golf.

Tiger Woods plans to compete in the 86th Masters this week, less than 14 months after suffering serious injuries in an horrific car crash in February 2021.

The 15-time major winner, who feared shortly after the accident that his right leg would have to be amputated, has not contested a top-level event since the 2020 Masters..

The 46-year-old, who competed in the PNC Championship with son Charlie last December, played a practice round at Augusta last week and nine holes on both Sunday and Monday.

“As of right now, I feel like I am going to play,” Woods said in his pre-tournament press conference.

Asked if he thought he could win a 16th major title this week, Woods said: “I do.”

Asked what his overriding emotion was on being able to compete at Augusta, Woods said: “Thankful.

“Very, very thankful for everyone’s support, everyone who has been involved in my process and the work I have put in each and every day.

“The amount of texts and FaceTimes and calls I have gotten has meant a lot.”

Tiger Woods

Woods said he had been driven by his desire to compete and win again, adding: “I feel like if I can still compete at the highest level I am going to, but if I feel like I can’t, you won’t see me out here.

“I don’t show up to an event unless I think I can win it.”

Woods recovered from spinal fusion surgery in 2017 to win his fifth Masters title two years later.

He finished 38th in the defence of his crown in November 2020 and missed last year’s tournament following his car crash.

Tiger Woods

Woods added: “The fact that I was able to get myself here at this point was a success and now that I am playing, everything is focused on getting in that position on the back nine on Sunday with a chance like I did a few years ago.

“I feel like I can still do it. I still have the hands to do it, the body is moving well enough. I have been in worse situations and won tournaments

Meanwhile, a severe storm caused an early halt to Tuesday’s second day of practice for the 86th Masters at Augusta National, with players and spectators cleared from the course.

Inclement weather and safety concerns caused tournament officials to halt the session at 10:55am local time (1455 GMT) with the grounds not to be reopened due to forecasts for more intense storms later in the day.

“The safety of everyone at Augusta National was the determining factor in the decision to suspend Tuesday’s practice round and evacuate the grounds,” Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said.

Ticket purchasers will be given the chance to buy the same tickets for next year’s second practice day.

“We share in the disappointment of our patrons, though we look forward to welcoming them back next year,” Ridley said.

Sixh-ranked Cameron Smith of Australia, last month’s Players Championship winner, worried heavy rain would spoil conditions at the famed course as Thursday’s opening round looms.

“The course is probably the best I’ve seen. It’s unreal,” Smith said. “Hopefully we don’t get too much rain this afternoon. I think that may ruin the condition of it and the playability of it a little bit.”

After a chaotic month and an announcement stating he is taking a break from the game, Phil Mickelson has officially decided not to play in the 2022 Masters.

The Masters’ official website has listed the field for this year’s tournament and Mickelson’s name is listed among the 15 other past champions not participating.

Tiger woods , phil mickelson

While Mickelson’s name stands out on the list of champions not playing, it’s the exclusion of one name that grabs the attention even more: Tiger Woods.

In fact, Woods is listed as a player in the field as of March 21. This could be due to the fact that he has not formally declined his invite this year, or there could be a slight chance he’s still thinking about teeing it up.
Twitter

Woods still has plenty of time to officially decline Augusta National’s invite to play with the first round of the Masters still over two weeks away, but it’s interesting not to see his name already listed among those not playing.

The five-time Masters winner has not played an official event since his single-car crash in February of 2021. He did tee it up in the PNC Championship alongside his son Charlie in December of last year, but that’s the only time we’ve seen him play golf since the accident.

Woods has not officially said that he won’t play in this year’s Masters, but last month explained he still has “a long way to go” in his recovery process. He shared that he does plan on playing on the PGA Tour again someday, but all signs have pointed to him not being ready to give it a go at Augusta National in April.

Tiger woods , phil mickelson

Tiger Woods has yet to announce his plans for The Masters in Augusta, Georgia.
So far, no news is good news for golf fans. While it remains to be seen if the 15-time major champion will tee it up at Augusta National, the fact that Woods hasn’t committed to not playing is promising, right?

“Correct, as of now he hasn’t said he’s not playing and on the Masters website there is active list of “Past champions not playing” and he’s not on that list yet,” TW Legion tweeted.

Tiger woods

Twitter

Golf fans are encouraged by that.

“It makes sense for him to return for his favorite tournament and then maybe take the rest of the year to prepare for next year. Maybe even throw in the US Open, he loves that tourney as well,” one fan added.

Tiger woods

“He’s tied with Snead the next win makes him the all time leader in wins he only cares about the majors if he can play hes gonna play,” another fan added.

Not everyone believes he will play, though.

“My official prediction is no Augusta. Would love to be wrong and I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong if so. All indications (TW’s own words, those around him, and some things we hear) point to something in several months down the road. I think Augusta would be a huge ask,” another fan added.

twitter

Woods’ return is likely still several months away, but Augusta National is arguably his favorite golf course of all-time.

If he was going to return earlier than expected, it would likely be at Augusta National.